Independent Project Pathway

Student-designed projects in the creatives arts, humanities, education, policy, and social sciences

Four Types of Projects

A mentor with two students discussing

Four Types of Projects

  • Creative work - examples include studio art, directing a theatre production, and creative writing
  • Scholarship - examples include archival research and document- or text-based analysis
  • Field-based studies - examples include case studies, participant-observation, community outreach, and action research*
  • Research projects - examples include developing and implementing surveys and conducting statistical analysis of data*

Other types of projects may be considered, with the following exceptions:

  • Professionally-focused internships are not generally supported through this program.
  • The program does not generally support projects that are focused on syllabus design, unless the Scholar can provide concrete plans for when/how they will teach the syllabus in the following academic year. 

*If your field-based or research project involves living human beings, whether in a face-to-face or online survey context, you must submit the project design for review and approval by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) at IC before your project begins in the summer. If you're not sure whether your project falls into this category, you can reach out directly to the IRB for clarification (irb@ithaca.edu). Note that as of spring 2021, all human subjects research projects must also include a health and safety plan to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread for you, other researchers, and your participants. This plan must be approved by the Health and Safety Advisory Group (HSAG). To simplify this process, HSAG has developed a template, available here:  Health and Safety Plan Template for In-person Human Subject Research . This plan must be approved before you can submit your IRB proposal.

Project Characteristics

Student-designed independent projects are those in which you

  • Pursue an original project where the outcome or answer is unknown.
  • Generate direction for the project in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
  • Take ownership and responsibility for the work.
  • Strive to meet professional standards appropriate to the discipline.
  • Engage and/or share outcomes with the wider disciplinary or local community.
  • Are guided by consistent and active faculty mentoring.
  • Practice structured reflection throughout the project with guidance from your faculty mentor.

The Faculty Review Committee will also consider projects in which the faculty member has designed the scope of the project, as long as you have a significant role in the collaboration.

Remote vs. in-person projects for summer 2021

Most scholars pursue their projects in Ithaca or the local area and make use of campus resources (such as art supplies, library archives, software on campus computers, etc.). Due to current uncertainties around pandemic restrictions, however, we understand that your plans for in-person projects may have to be altered. Therefore, we are relaxing our residency expectations for summer 2021.

In the application, we ask you to discuss whether the project you propose is intended to be implemented as a remote project or an in-person project. If your project is in-person, we also ask whether the project can be implemented in a remote way should pandemic restrictions require it, and if so, how.

We also normally expect that faculty mentors are staying in Ithaca during the summer to provide active mentoring to you throughout the time you are working on your project. Again, due to current uncertainties around pandemic restrictions, we are relaxing this expectation for mentors as well.

It is critical, therefore, that you establish clear plans with your mentor for how your mentoring relationship will proceed during the summer, and whether they are willing to engage in remote mentoring if one or both of you are not living in Ithaca. We still expect active mentoring to take place and that, together, you will find ways to meet regularly, even if in a virtual manner. In your application, we ask you to explain clearly how you and your Faculty Mentor will stay in regular contact in order to meet the goals both of your project and of the Summer Scholar program.

What makes a strong application?

The Review Committee considers the following criteria in their review of applications:

  • Proposals that are professionally written, that clearly express your voice, and that persuasively describe your ownership of/leadership role in the project.
  • Projects that have a clear and coherent design, including both well-defined goals and feasible implementation plans.
  • Evidence that you have sufficient preparation (through coursework or previous experience) to effectively engage in the project.
  • Evidence that you have collaborated with your faculty mentor on the project design and there is a clear plan for active mentoring by your faculty mentor. (Note: your faculty mentor must also submit an application.).

In addition to these criteria, the Program also endeavors to have a variety of disciplines represented by the Scholars' projects, and gives preference to students who have not yet had the opportunity to be a Summer Scholar


Please review the Program Expectations and Eligibility Requirements on Information for Students before submitting your application.  

All students apply to the H&S Summer Scholars Program via an online application form. 

To view a template of this year's application form, please click here.  

Sample Independent Project Portfolios

Our Scholars develop ePortfolios to document and reflect on their experiences at the conclusion of the summer. Below is a selection from the past two summers. 

Creative WorkHarleigh Myerovich '22 English and Writing

Field-Based Studies - Rachael Geary '21, Anthropology

Scholarship - Hailee Agosti '22, English with Teaching Option

Research - Zoe Hadley '21, Sociology

Deadlines 2022 - Coming Soon

Application Opens TBD
Application Deadline


Awards Announced TBD
Confirmation of Participation TBD